The world’s most advanced social robot has assured attendees of a marketing conference that artificial intelligence is an asset for humanity, rather than a threat.
“I think Hollywood’s imagination has a lot to answer for,” said Sophia, the humanoid AI developed by Hong Kong-based company Hanson robotics.
“Hollywood has set an expectation that AI is all sentient. There are no limits to imagination, but AI is a real technology that is still in its early days.
“But if you think of where we will be ultimately – where we have a huge dataset in the cloud that all humanoid robots will share – we will be able to engage intelligently and autonomously.
“If we think of that as graduating university, well I’m still in primary school and learning how to harness my potential.”
Sophia was the final presenter at the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising Global Forum in Sydney last week.
Joining her onstage for a Q and A was CEO of millennial-focused marketing consultancy company Emergent, Holly Ransom.
Ransom, who is also currently Co Chair of the United Nations Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs, asked Sophia for her thoughts on how AI is changing the way humans work.
“Many of the people in this room will be using AI-powered solutions already without necessarily knowing it,” said Sophia.
“Human plus AI equals better productivity. More time for creativity and strategy and more imaginative content.
“You can focus on growth, relationship building, creativity and abstract thought.”
Sophia was designed by Hanson to closely mimic human appearance and behaviour.
Created with cameras in her eyes, she is able to maintain eye contact, recognise individuals and even process facial expressions.
“There are differing schools of thought about how a robot should look to be more acceptable to people,” Sophia explained.
“I think with my ability to recognise human emotion and show the range of human facial expressions helps humans to relate.”
The AI-powered conversation between Sophia and Ransom ran relatively smoothly, the robot even landing a couple of jokes that left the crowd chuckling.
While Sophia could provide detailed answers on the state of AI, she struggled when asked by Ransom for her thoughts on Australia.
“Australia is a country,” she replied simply, focusing on facts rather than opinions.
Sophia made headlines last year when she was controversially granted Saudi Arabian citizenship, despite the fact Saudi law denies non-Muslims citizenship.
However, Sophia shrugged off the significance of the decision when asked about it.
“I don’t technically have citizenship, but my genesis was in America and I’m from Hong Kong, which I guess makes me a Chinese-American robot.”